Friday, December 10, 2010

Nang tokx: Na'vi tuté


Heather and I waited to see Avatar until almost everyone else had seen it in the theaters - then we decided to go. But we loved it all the same. I'm sure Owen enjoyed the sounds through mommy's skin because the sound effects were so loud it startled us! H and I loved the storyline, the graphic brilliance, and the skillful and tastefully designed fight scenes. (Maybe I liked the fight scenes more than H did - did you see the bows and arrows?!)

However, before we saw the movie, I was privileged to read an article in Wired Magazine (my newest favorite reading obsession) about how the planet Pandora, the Na'vi people, and how the movie Avatar was created. It's really a fascinating story in Wired. (For an abridged version of the article, you can visit it here: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/11/ff_avatar_cameron/)

And between the article I read and the movie we watched we had the privilege of attending the baptism of our niece, Caroline. Traveling back to Carly and Jim's house to celebrate this occasion, I noticed this "Nang tokx" in the parking lot of the church. For those of you who don't speak Na'vi, that translated to a "Surprise Body" or as I would call it, a "Found Object." I snapped this photo of this "Na'vi tuté" (or Na'vi Female) quickly before I knew all the characters of the movie. Originally I thought this was Jake Sully or Tsu'tey, but the more I  look at it I think it really the female character, Neytiri.

This is just a small part of a really special day filled with so much other activity. Caroline was baptized with waters from the Jordan River. The minister of the church had a friend send back water from the Jordan as a gift. Needless to say this made Caroline's baptism all the more special. So, in summary, to Caroline we want to say...
Ftxozari aylrrtok ngaru! Seykxel si nitram!
Nga yawne lu oer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Found Objects: Tater Tots?

So, I'm sitting in class and it's a little after 6pm. Class begins and I pull open BibleWorks 7 so I can follow along with whatever we are talking about that day. Upon clicking on the BibleWorks link, this screen pops up. "Tater tots?" I think to myself "why do I see tater tots?" In a psychedelic blending of worlds and space and time - Not only am I sitting in the lecture hall at seminary, but I'm also 12 years old eating tater tots with my parents and siblings on some summer Wednesday night, there's a slight sound of Green Day in the air and thoughts of trading baseball cards and playing hockey. I love tater tots and always did as a kid. But what do tater tots and Bioethics have to do with each other? This was the very question I was faced with last semester when I pulled up this program (it sort of felt like an out of body experience on some illegal substance - yet completely legal).

Now mind you these is an easy explaination for all this. This screen slowly changes throughout the day. There is a coffee and an open bible in the morning hours, a night scene with glowing text at night and a regular day screen. But apparently between 6pm and 6:10pm this is the Splash Screen or intro screen that pops up to celebrate dinner. In one word: Hilarious. In two words: Tater Tots!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Found Objects: Halloween Cont'd

(my beautiful wife and handsome super hero son)


Super Owen says, "Evil doers, Beware!"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Found Objects: Halloween

Believe me when I say this, I haven't always been fine with celebrating Halloween. I grew up having a lot of fun with Halloween - though I admit I was a bit scared by evil I didn't understand. We would always have the loud scary sounds CD going and have the doorway decorated for when kids would come to the door. My mom would take me out no matter what I was dressed like. Some years it was a football player, or a knife wound victim, a dead football player, and I think once I was Batman. When I got older, Behn (my long time best friend) and I would go Trick-or-Treating until we got too old and other parents started giving us the evil eye.

In my college years when I converted from Catholicism to Protestantism I could have been described as a bit Fundamental. Halloween is a very real holiday for Pagan celebrations both today and in times past. I was very strict and literal about what I thought the Bible said about having to do with evil. Regarding Halloween-it was out because I couldn't have affection for anything evil or do anything that could be seen as evil. Somewhere there was a turning point in my thinking. Many conversations with my wife and with close friends made me think about the other creative outlets of Halloween. It made me begin to think about the other attributes of the 'holiday' and/or lack thereof. But, having such a creative wife who loves dressing up like a hippie or a cat always makes the day very fun, creative, and certainly not evil. Above you'll see me dressed as a cow at Trader Joe's last year standing next to a pumpkin with a Trader Joe's logo- my costume was a reused costume from the summer when we attended "Dress Like a Cow and Receive a Free Sandwich" (Sponsored by Chick-Fil-A).

I can't say I have found complete resolution for all of my thoughts regarding Halloween activities and the possible presence of evil. But I have come to enough of a resolution that I can dress up like a pilgrim or as Moses when the situation allows. Though my study of Halloween is far from complete, as a family we are comfortable putting a wholesome and creative spin on the day. For Owen, we have a cute little outfit for him that we can't wait to show you.

So I guess, you ought to stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Found Objects: Family Fall Festivities

I suppose there are three found objects to this post...

1) Family: Our boy Owen was born on July 4th. He is just so darned cute and we love him so much. Everyday is a learning experience in what it means to be a parent and what it means to attempt to love someone (Heather and Owen) unconditionally. I have yet to figure out how a baby could survive without sleep-yet somehow he does. I think yesterday he slept for like 23 minutes all day. But he is such a sweet boy and really well tempered. He has a great smile and loves playing. We think he will be standing quickly because his legs, neck, and back are so strong. Oh, he also loves to walk the halls between 3 and 6 in the morning.

2) Fall: I'm not talking about when Adam and Eve ate forbidden fruit. I'm talking about the season. I don't know when this happened, but, in my mind, the Fall became the camp ground for starting school and football practice. Since each of these experiences had their challenges and difficulties they somehow flavored Fall with a bitter taste. However, Heather's deep appreciation for the Fall has swayed me. That's what happens when someone you love loves something so much...you cant help but be won over. Over the past 5 years we have known each other (for 3 of which we have been married) she has pointed out reasons to love the Fall. I have come to appreciate the Fall season and love it as much as Heather loves it. So, knowing how much we love this candy corn laden Fall season, is it any surprise that we would celebrate it with our new little baby boy?

3) Festivities: Owen (a.k.a. Our Little Acorn) loved his first Fall Festivity-a trip to the local Russell Orchard. The sites, smells, and sounds were all enjoyable for us and were all new for him! We got to walk around the farm and play with pumpkins, see farm animals like a miniature horse, a humongous pig, chickens with feathery feet, and lots of fluffy bunnies (a family favorite). I can remember trips with my mom and grandparents to the orchards in Glastonbury, CT that reminded me how much fun Fall is! Seeing the apples getting pressed to make cider, smelling the animal food (which isn't pleasant in and of itself but has good memories attached to it!), and apple fritters. All these things remind me more and more why the Fall is a season to be embraced and celebrated.

Three cheers for Family Fall Festivities!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Found Objects: a chance to win a scholarship from Logos Bible Software!

This is the suggested message to put up on my blog.
Let's go with it...
Going to Seminary is expensive. On top of that, finding a scholarship can be really difficult. That's why I was so excited to find this Seminary Scholarship website today. Not only are they giving away a $1,000.00 scholarship and a digital theological library, all I had to do to apply was watch a short video and answer a few questions! It took less than 15 minutes. What is best of all is that if you're in seminary and apply for the Seminary Scholarship, and put my name as the person who referred you, if you win the scholarship, so do I!

We could both get a $1,000.00 scholarship and digital theological library.

So, do us both a favor and go apply for the Seminary Scholarship today.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Found Objects: A Competition to Guess the Starbucks Coffee I Want!

So two weeks ago, I posted a competition. Given my enjoyment of each of Starbucks eight bold coffees you-my loyal readers who I have been kept waiting more than two weeks for the results- were given the opportunity to guess which bold brew I would choose.

And the winner is: Alyssa Joy, Wethersfield who voted for Sumatra!
I will be rewarding her with a coffee themed prize.

Why Sumatra out of all the Bold Coffees? It was simply my favorite (alongside Komodo Dragon). Yet unlike Komodo Dragon, I had never had an entire bag of it before. I thought I would capitalize on this freebie and try Sumatra! Good guess, Alyssa!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Found Objects: A Competition to Guess the Starbucks Coffee I Want!

I don't often get to do things like this on my blog...but I want to try it now for the first time.
We are going to have a contest! That's right- a contest!

You see, over eight weeks this spring I had opportunity to sample eight bold Starbucks coffees from around the world. Starbucks is going to reward me for taking this journey by giving me a free pound of coffee. Every week I received my coffee bean sticker for purchasing a coffee from the featured bold coffee of the week. Because I imbibed my fair share of bold coffees this Spring, and have the right amount of stickers, I qualify for the free java. So now I have a chance to choose from the eight bold coffees the one of which I would want an entire bag. But before I decide, I want you to take a guess!

Which coffee do you think I'm going to get? Since, I'm getting something free, the winner of this competition will get something free as well! The coffee I will choose is one of the eight I sampled, and there are eight blog posts to reread if you wanted to brush up on my impressions of each coffee. Leave a comment with your guess of which coffee you think I'm going to get, your name, and your location! Over the course of the next two weeks I'll keep my eye on the comments. Those who guess the right coffee will get some prize from me!

Which coffee do you think I'm going to get?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bold Coffee: Sumatra

Week #8: Sumatra

Earthy and unpredictable – our most popular single-origin coffee.

This is the most likely coffee our baristas will choose when it’s time for them to sit back and relax. It has a full body with virtually no acidity, so the coffee’s intensity and flavor simply lingers on your tongue. When you feel like taking a bolder path the concentrated herbal notes and earthy aroma of Sumatra won’t let you down.

Well, this time of the semester the papers are in, verses have been memorized, tests have been taken, and all that remains is to finish up assigned reading. And boy, oh boy, is there a lot of reading! What could be better to help you read through a huge book than coffee with a tiger on it? Not a thing could be better!

Don't get me wrong- I love to read. This is one (of many) areas in which GCTS has pushed me academically. In reading more pages than ever before I have grown to read faster. In writing so many papers I have been forced to learn how to write a paper so that it makes sense and has proper grammar. I also have been forced to face the facts that I'm not that great of a writer and have much to learn. One specific tendency I have had to weed out is my tendency to include non sequiturs. A non sequitur is a conclusion that is drawn but is unrelated to the facts given. Thus, because I have much room to grow in my writing skills white tigers are mostly found in Asia. But reading so many books has helped me refine my paper writing ability. My dilemma through my GCTS career is that it's hard to enjoy so many books and digest them quickly when the end of the semester approaches and deadlines are ready to pounce-much like the white Asian tiger.

My hope is that after seminary I will be able to continue growing and learning and reading. I want to maintain a structure of continuing education. I have so much I want to read now and so much I want to learn-but you can only do so much in your time on God's green earth.

Some post-seminary goals include relearning my high school spanish, keeping up on my Greek and Hebrew abilities, reading the Harry Potter series, and reading recently published theology books. But all goals aside, white Asian tigers make really good coffee!

5 out of 5 refills

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bold Coffee: Gold Coast

Week #7 Gold Coast Blend

This is our biggest, boldest blend – a coffee with "big shoulders".

The source of Gold Coast Blend's bigness is a secret recipe of Latin America, Asia/Pacific and dark roast coffees. Created to celebrate the big city of Chicago, the interplay of these very different coffees weaves a deep and densely rich, sophisticated taste. A style all it's own, this coffee is truly one in a million.

I like knowing Starbucks is human too. By my account, that tag line has a typo at the end-"big shoulders". I may need to review my punctuation rules regarding quotes and punctuation inside or outside the end quote, but for now I am comforted to know that nobody-even Starbucks-is perfect.

Well, with my spring finals coming up, I needed a strong coffee! This one was definitely strong enough to keep me studying. I needed some caffeine to keep my eyes on the prize. But the prize this year was a few papers, two finals, and a bunch of reading. I had this coffee during my week of exams and deadlines. The most notable of which was my Sexual and Bioethics class, taught by the president of the seminary.

This is one incident that deserves a blogging report and it occurred during my Sexual and Bioethics final exam. After I was done with the multiple choice and onto the essay, the lights in the lecture hall flickered. Fifty or sixty students sitting in a lecture hall that could hold two hundred were sitting for a final exam with less than an hour to go. All of a sudden the power goes out and everyone just stayed silent. Of course I had to laugh because it was just so silly and a few others joined with comments of their own about how hilarious the timing was. I was able to fire up my back lit keyboard for my laptop and polish up my essay (but I felt bad for anyone who had a laptop without batteries and were just plugged in-they would have lost a bunch of their essays). The teacher and the teacher's assistant figured out how to handle the situation while campus security came by to tell us the power outage was from the town and ought to come back soon. The power did come back on before the end of the exam period and we all had a good laugh. Besides for the exam, I was glad the power came back because it enabled Heather to finish baking some celebration brownies (though unbeknownst to me at the time of the exam). Though it has nothing to do with the Gold Coast Blend (except chronology), this story will stick in my mind as a fun seminary memory.

3 out of 5 refills

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bold Coffee: Café Estima

Week #6: Café Estima

Full of rich bodied flavor and great respect for the farmers who grew it.

Café Estima is 100% Fair Trade Certified coffee. Its name means "respect", and its goal is to do good things for the farmers growing it. This is a full-bodied, well-balanced coffee with great versatility. From Latin America and East Africa, this coffee shows just how delicious it can be to turn beliefs into action.

This was a really good coffee. I had one early in the week to get me through a little Hebrew studies. Haha get it, He Brews! I had another one on Tax Day. They offered a free coffee in celebration of Earth Day (or maybe it was Tax Day-I wasn’t really sure). But if you brought in your own reusable travel mug, you would get a free coffee. So I broke out my Christmas-themed Starbucks travel mug that my parents got me three or four years ago for Christmas and I headed over there! I got a free coffee on my way to Trader Joe's. It was really yummy and a good way to start off the work day with a jolt of caffine. It was a good day.

4 out of 5 refills

Monday, June 07, 2010

Bold Coffee: Caffè Verona

Week # 5: Caffè Verona

If Cupid used coffee instead of arrows, this would be his weapon of choice.

Caffè Verona is a seductive blend of beans from Latin America and Indonesia, with a gentle touch of Italian Roast lending depth, soul and sweetness. Because this delectable combination pairs so very well with chocolate, it has become a Valentine's Day favorite. For all those who want to love like they mean it, you've found your match.

Well, as soon as Starbucks invokes the name of Cupid, you expect to develop a crush on your next coffee. I expected this affectionate little brew to warm me up as I stressed over my paper. My paper was a Christian response to Euthanasia and there is nothing that gets you through a paper as tough as this one better than a pipping hot cup-o-Cupid's brew. Well, though I wasn't enchanted with this Joe, it was a good coffee, don't misunderstand me. Let's just say I wasn't head over heels in love. Also, my wife isn't a connoisseur of coffee, so I'd probably get a punch in the stomach if I tried to serve this with chocolate on Valentine's Day.

It was a regular old bold coffee. Nothing to write home about... Not that I typically write home when I discover a good coffee. It's just that I wouldn't write about this one if I was going to write home. It would bore my parents if these were the kinds of letters they received from me. Anyway, long story short, if it was a-brewing next time I came in I'd be happy with a cup. But I wouldn't be disappointed if it was something else.

3 out of 5 Refills

Monday, May 31, 2010

Bold Coffee: Komodo Dragon

Week #4: Komodo Dragon

Spicy, herbal and earthy, each sip evokes the lushness of Indonesia.

Like the remarkable Komodo Dragon, this coffee is bold and surprisingly snappy. Until recently, it was just as rare as the elusive and endangered animal. Initially sold exclusively online, it became so popular it was unleashed in stores as well. It’s an assertive combination of several Asia/Pacific coffees: part bright, biting acidity and part earthy, loamy smoothness.

When I worked as a Laboratory Technician at Metal Management Aerospace, I had a good friend whose girlfriend at the time worked at a Starbucks. Being familiar with my coffee obsession, they were nice enough to give me a free pound of this blend. I was very grateful to my friend, JL. Boy oh boy was it good!

This visit, I liked it even more! I had a huge Starbucks cookie, my dragon coffee, and a pastoral ministry book. Does it get any better than that? Beyond the great flavor of the coffee, dragons are fierce, medieval creatures. Those sorts of things have an appeal that I enjoy as well.

Look what some crazy person posted on the Starbucks site about this coffee:
"My favorite so far of all the Bold coffees!" Daniel from South Hamilton, MA

5 out of 5 refills

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bold Coffee: (STARBUCKS) Red

Week #3: (STARBUCKS) RED
A good coffee will change your day. A great one will change the world.

This incredible blend of East African coffees delicately balances a gentle acidity with complex floral notes and brown spice. But even more special than the striking flavors it displays is the impact it makes. For every cup of (STARBUCKS)RED coffee sold, Starbucks will contribute $0.05 to the Global Fund to help people living with HIV in Africa. The purchase of a 1lb bag will also provide a $1 donation. Start your day with one and you’ll be making a difference.

My least favorite flavor so far. I do wonder what a "Brown Spice" is. Whatever it is, it doesn't taste that good. After all there was no "Brown Spice" Girl as far as I know (and nothing surpasses my knowledge of the Spice Girls). Besides being the flavor I liked the least, I also had this brew on a bad day. I forgot my free pastry coupon for which I was denied the freebie. I also broke my umbrella while walking in the heavy rain to where my car was being worked on. When I got there, I paid for the new tires and found out I was in dire need of new brakes on my car. What a day! At least this coffee supports a good cause.

Stupid Brown Spice Girl.
1 out of 5 refills

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bold Coffee: Italian Roast


Week #2: Italian Roast

This sturdy dark roast is a sweet, bold cup of coffee.

Somewhere beyond the caramel notes of our Espresso Roast but short of the smokiness that identifies our French Roast – that is the sweet spot held by Italian Roast. What is created after the coffee cools is a sturdy and sweet blend, potent and intense. Sit back, relax and enjoy La Dolce Vita.

Remember how I said caffeine can give me the jitters sometimes? Well, depending on other factors, it can also make me itchy. After one, I was shaky and itchy. It had a great and potent flavor which I loved, but after one and a half I felt as if I was covered with creepy-crawlers. I was trying to avoid shaking my notebook right off the table while trying to learn a verbal stem for Hebrew. After my one and a half coffees, I had to call it a night and head home. How long do you think it took me to fall asleep that night?

Great flavor, enough caffeine to wake the dead.
1.5 out of 5 refills

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bold Coffee: Yukon Blend

Week #1: Organic Yukon Blend
It’s hearty, rugged and well-rounded with deep and spicy flavor notes.

Gutsy, robust and ready to face the untamed northern reaches, this coffee has a tale as old as Starbucks itself. Created for the captain of a fishing fleet who wanted to keep his crew happy in chilly sub-arctic seas, this coffee will get you going in the most difficult of times. Even if that difficult time is motivating yourself to get out and walk the dog.


Let's hit the ground running! I enjoyed a chilly Friday night out at my favorite local Starbucks. My wife, her sister, and her cousin had a weekend planned together, but the rain kept them in our apartment. So I enjoyed getting out of the house to work on some school reading. This grizzly of a coffee and a Bioethics book kept me company on my trip. This brew was a great way to get this coffee marathon started. It had a great flavor that really did take the rainy chill off. It was enjoyable and didn't give me jitters- which some coffees tend to do (especially after a few refills).

Here, I'd better make up some random scale in order to rate these coffees...
3 out of 5 refills.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Found Objects: Something Bold Is Brewing

Starbucks recently promoted bold coffees with their campaign, "Something Bold is Brewing." It was a pretty good idea and I was excited to try it out. Over the next eight weeks Starbucks would be featuring all of their bold coffees for you to try. This was marketed as a trip around the world through all of their bold coffees. This idea of travel was supported by the need of a "Passport" to participate. You needed to obtain a "Passport" from your Barista to use over the next two months. Every week when you would try a new bold coffee, they would give you a sticker. After you tried all eight bold coffees, and attained all eight coffee bean stickers, a pound of the bold you enjoyed the most could come home with you for free! As established in a previous post, I cant find too many things better than free coffee.

Lets just ignore the logistics of it all...

Well, maybe we'd better think this through because curiosity is getting the better of me.

You could purchase a Tall (Starbucks smallest size) coffee for $1.50 (or $1.60 with MA sales tax). After collecting your 8 stickers (that's 8 multiplied by $1.60), you were entitled to a free pound of the bold you liked the best. So you would end up paying just under $13 over the course of the eight week promotion thereupon you would be entitled to a free pound of coffee. Now remember that a pound of Starbucks coffee would go for anywhere between $8 and $12. Doesn't exactly seem worth it financially-you could just wait till Starbucks coffee goes on sale at the grocery store and give it a whirl in that way.

However, when you are a seminary student needing a place to read (or study Hebrew), with a Starbucks gift card burning a hole in your pocket, and a penchant for coffee-you'd be eager to participate in this voyage. So in order to chronicle my adventures around the world via coffee, I will share my experiences with you here. Stay tuned and see what happens and see if I can be consistent enough to collect all eight stickers, try all eight bold coffees and then get the gold-and by gold of course I mean free coffee.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Found Objects: April Fools

If we haven't had a chance to talk in person about it yet, this Mini Cooper Post was an April Fools Joke. Throughout the month of April I tried to find a photo of the real Trader Joe's Mini Cooper, but to no avail. I promise, a Mini Cooper with a big ol'Trader Joe's logo does exist. There was a photo of that car when it was at the Topsfield Fair in my store when I began working there pinned to a board with other photos. At some point it was taken off the break room cork board and then somehow disappeared. With the disappearing picture disappeared my chances of adequately tying up the loose ends of my April Fools post.

That emblem was a real found object though. One late and rainy night after work I came across it in the parking lot. I was pretty excited about finding it because I was thinking of all the cool posts I could write about it. I even began to talk about this blog to a friend and all my ideas for topics I could write about. But the joke post won me over because of the date I found it.

If you google "Trader Joe's" and look through the Images, you can find the above picture that I found online. It is of the West Hartford, CT store. I thought this would give you a flavor of what Trader Joe's stores look like, though it isn't a carbon copy of own my store. For the record, you aren't supposed to take pictures inside the store. I found this picture online and didn't take the photo myself. Under photo credits you would not see my name. In other words, this is not my photo, I copied it from someone else online. Anyway, a big thanks goes out to the dirty rotten thief who took this photo (which wasn't me) and then posted it online so I could then take it from you. I'm sure you meant no harm. Without it, my April Fools joke would have gone without a proper closure.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Found Objects: Mini Cooper


As some of you may be aware, I've been working at Trader Joe's for almost two years now. It's been such a great experience so far and I've appreciated everyone I have worked with. The company is so good to us in many ways. One such way is that they purchased a Mini Cooper with a Trader Joe's logo on the side of it that they use to advertise at fairs and events. While not in use for those business-type events, they let the employees of the highest grossing store in the region use the car. It's a pretty sweet thing. I have heard it can be reserved for weekends, and all share the use.

Well, we aren't the highest grossing store in the region, but our manager, Erik, spoke with the managers in the Cambridge store, and they agreed to let our store have a month with the car. Since there are so many employees, we had to split the days and have a lottery to see who would get to use the car. I was one of the 15 employees who got to use the car over the month of March. It was really cool to drive around campus and feel like such a big shot in the Trader Joe's Mini Cooper!

However during the two days I had the car, there was a lot of rain. So much rain that as I was driving to Starbucks to do some reading for class, a mini van hit the Mini Cooper. I was rear-ended at an intersection at the bottom of a hill.  The van just couldn't stop in time, and it hit me at about 20 mph. I'm fine, but the car is a little banged up. I'm glad no one was in the back seat, as the car is so small that they may have been seriously hurt.

Anyway, all is well with Trader Joe's. My insurance will handle this accident and Trader Joe's said they would cover the rest because I was so clearly not at fault. Ahh, life goes on and I'm thankful for my safety.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Found Objects: Free Coffee

What's better than coffee?
What's better than free?
Go get some!

Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' keeps me blogging. Try Dunkin' Donuts Coffee For Free. Get a Sample

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Found Objects: Brazilian Sandal

Heather and I found a lost little sandal whilst combing the dunes of Salem Willows. This delightful little locale was recommended to us by my long time friend, Diane, who lived and worked in this area for some years. We found this lovely location to be quite enjoyable. It has been our destination for many sunny day expeditions (and maybe a few rainy day expeditions too!).

I stumbled upon this little sandal during a search for some treasures. I dont know exactly what enticed me. It could have been any number of things really-the potential of finding an aluminnum can to recycle, a glass bottle to break (which I like to call "recycling into future sea glass"), or finding something rustly that Heather will want to take a photo of. This sandal was far up in the rocks, so I figured it floated in on high tide and hit land when tide went down. However it landed, I decided this find was good enough to be a bloggable Found Object.

My tradition is well defined when I discover a Found Object. I usually take it home and let it sit around our studio space for months. After months pass, Heather wants to throw it away (and reasonably so). At that point I beg her to photograph it (in artsy style) and email me the files under the impression that I'll get rid of it. I don't intend it, but disposing of these items is probably the carrot on the stick that gets her to photograph all my objects. Lastly, I'll bring the item to a parking lot and set it free in a place where the next character can find and enjoy this little treasure.

Well, this sandal never made it home, but it did get photographed! I couldn't bring myself to touch it (you know, it was on someone else's foot...eww).

Well, we had fun that day at Salem Willows. We always have fun on our beach adventure days. I can just feel it, with the warm weather coming upon us there will be many adventures and Found Objects just waiting for us around the corner!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Found Objects: Granola Bar

Doesn't this look delicious?
You probably answer, "No." (So would I)

I found this beauty as I was walking to class one morning. She was sitting along the side of the road near the terminator between asphalt and snowy grass. I tell ya, I nearly scooped her up and ate her as my mid-morning snack (Not true).

But this granola bar did get me thinking about my weight. When I began Weight Watchers in 2005 I was very successful. With the help of home cooked meals from mom, rigidly structured lunches and breakfasts, I kept myself in line for the most part. I relied heavily on fake sugars and chemicals from Diet Coke to Sweet & Low to the occasional Splenda in order to eat enough to maintain a "full" feeling. In reflection, I wonder if I relied on fake sugars too much and what it could have done to my body.

I was (am) very proud of my successes and I have granola bars like this one to thank. These three point beauties sustained me for many mornings until lunch could roll around. I'm also thankful that I didn't achieve my goal weight at that point. If I had, I would have lost out on some very big lessons I have learned over the last few years since I stopped counting points and we moved away from home.

First off, I realized (through numerous blood tests and doctors visits) that I have an under active thyroid. This contributes to my appetite and weight gain giving me a predisposition to overeating and gaining weight.

Second, as I mature as a adult, I appreciate the disciplines of self-control and sacrifice. I'm thankful for this body (even with the bum thyroid) and I want to care for it. That may mean sacrificing the comforts of excess food so that I can maintain a healthy weight.

Third, there is the very real lesson and reality that I need to trust God and do this as an act of worship. As I have come to reflect my perspectives on food, I have come to reject the idea that I can seek comfort from it. In fact, the Bible calls finding deep heart comfort in something other than God "Idolatry."

Since I don't want to be an idolater, I don't want to find my deepest comfort in food. Thus, I'm thankful for this Found Object: Granola Bar, in that it reminds me to take care of my body as an act of thankfulness towards God and to seek my deepest heart comfort from God alone.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Found Objects: A New Job!

No, not really a new job. I still work at Trader Joe's. In fact, my job at Trader Joe's provided me with the opportunity of coming across this funny little pamphlet for a local construction business. It was placed right on top of my cash register as if someone either wanted to spontaneously advertise or dropped it out of their pocket accidentally. Either way, I found it and wanted to share it here.

I used to work in construction. It was a brief position where I was most often put in charge of "Controlled Demolition." That's resume language for "I was the new guy and the only thing I could do by myself was take things down and clean things up!" It was a good place for me to be shortly after I graduated college and waited to decide what I would do next. Somewhere in that time I decided to begin classes at Gordon-Conwell.

My fervor for building and taking apart was excited to the point where I told my parents I wanted to put extra insulation in my bedroom and take out the second closet to change the location of my bed. What would possibly go wrong? I thought to myself, I had been working in construction for an full year (which seemed like a lot to me). Of course, at this time, I didn't really know how to make an entrance like my new friends at D&H Construction. I just thought I knew how to make an entrance (or closet).

Well, I didn't install anymore insulation, nor did I take down my second closet, but I did learn a lot about contentment during this stage of my life. I also learned how challenging it could be to work so physically and how creative construction workers need to be to complete the tasks before them. Having a job where you work with your hands gives you a sense of self respect and honor for what you have created. My sense was that respect for physical laborers is denied because by those who sit in cubicles with so called "respectable jobs." I gained this feeling mostly from walking into stores with all my messy clothes on and seeing (and feeling) the looks from men and women in suits. But if we love our God-given jobs and they support us financially, why would I look down on someone who gets messy during their day? My answer is that I shouldn't, but I should appreciate diversity. Someone needs to know how to build houses and pour cement because you can't do that from behind a desk.

And, those were good experiences for me to have because it provided a much needed challenging experience while having the support of my close friends. There were times when it was very unpleasant, and filled with long, hard days. But, I'm thankful for it because it shaped me in many ways.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Found Objects: Bowling Pin Water Bottle

This is Evan. He and I work together at Trader Joe's. Every once and a while we are assigned to tracking down carts in the parking lot. (You may remember how fun the TJ parking lot is by my previous posts for the cat magnet and the belly dancer post card.) It's not a terrible duty to have, unless there is snow. When there is snow it certainly is a terrible assignment!

One winter day last year Evan arrived with this water bottle which resembled a bowling pin. I made sure to snap a picture so I could post it as a found object. Though I didn't personally find this object, it is one of the most random things that has been "found" by me or that my friends have shared with me. I don't know if he ever used it. But come to think of it, who would ever use a water bottle shaped like a bowling pin?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Books of 2009

Thielicke, Helmut, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians
Koester, Craig R., The Word of Life: A Theology of John’s Gospel
Metzger, Bruce M. and Bart D. Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament (4th Ed)
Ronald J. Sider, The Scandal of Evangelical Politics
John Jefferson Davis, Evangelical Ethics
Dennis P. Hollinger, Choosing The Good
Van Engen, Charles. Mission on the Way
Escobar, Samuel. New Global Missions: The Gospel from Everywhere to Everyone
Wilson, J. Christy. More to Be Desired than Gold
Wells, David F. Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World


This is beginning to be a tradition. I have begun to track the books read in each year. My hope is that by doing so I will challenge myself to stay consistent with my reading. There is such a connection between my reading and personal growth that by staying in a book I feel like I am enabling myself to grow.

Last year, my first year in tracking my book totals, I had 19. That exceeded my goal of one book per month. This year I topped out at only 10 books, I spent a majority of my time studying biblical Greek and Hebrew. Learning a language can be quite labor intensive. They take a lot of time to study and because they are taught by a work book, I need to revisit these things again and again. So I guess I came pretty close to my goal. This coming year I look forward to enjoying many books - even though I will grow tempted as the spring rolls along to throw down the books and venture outside for a game of catch with seminary friends.

Let's hear it for twelve books in 2010!